Red Chilaquiles– a Breakfast Fiesta
These red chilaquiles are made with the traditional salsa ranchera, so the flavor is bright and fresh.
The origin of chilaquiles is surrounded by lore and legend some placing it in ancient Mesoamerican traditions, others giving credit to a convent (nunneries come up often in lore). The one thing that’s certain is that the name is from the Nahuatl language.
Historian Ángel María Garibay explains that the name comes from the word, chilaquili, which is derived from chil (chile) and aquili (to be inside something), so the meaning is “submerged in chile” or “placed in chile.”
Recipe for Red Chilaquiles | Chilaquiles Rojos
Adapted from the cookbook, “Don’t Count The Tortillas: The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking”
Ingredients (serves 4)
8 corn tortillas
12 ounces tomatoes, about 4 small tomatoes
1 chile serrano
1 garlic clove, peeled
1⁄4 white onion, peeled,
1⁄4 white onion, finely minced
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup queso fresco, finely crumbled
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil, no trans fats, plus an additional 1⁄4 cup to brush on the tortillas
To Make the Salsa (yields 2 cups)
1. Place the tomatoes, chile, garlic, and onion in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. The skin will be falling off the tomatoes, and the chile will turn an earthy green. Drain and let the ingredients cool. It isn’t safe to put hot ingredients in some home blenders because the steam can cause an eruption and the lid to fly off.
2. Place the cooled ingredients in a blender; add the salt; and blend for about 15 seconds, just until the ingredients are blended but there are still some tiny bits for texture. Set aside.
To Make the Tortilla Chips
3. Place the tortillas on a cutting board and brush both sides lightly with oil. Then cut each tortilla into quarters.
4. Place the quarters on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or longer until the color of the tortilla chips has become a deep golden brown, but not burned. If the tortillas don’t deepen in color, they won’t be crispy enough. You may have to do this in batches to ensure that the chips are not too crowded on the baking sheet. Set the chips aside.
To Assemble the Chilaquiles
5. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, add 1⁄4 cup minced onion and cook until slightly translucent. Add the chips, tossing until they are all hot.
6. Add 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups of the salsa ranchera and toss to cover the chips.
7. When the chips are all covered with salsa, distribute among four plates and sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco.